jimmy carter and his wife

Jimmy Carter Is the Longest-Living U.S. President

The award of “longest-living U.S. president” officially goes to Former President Jimmy Carter. His post-presidential life has gone on for about 40 years, and he’s now 96 years old, outliving George H. W. Bush, who passed away in November 2018 at age 94. This milestone didn’t come easy. Carter has faced multiple medical issues, including brain cancer, in 2015 and “continues to remain engaged in the causes and activities that have marked his post-presidency,” according to spokeswoman Deanna Congileo. [1] 

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The Longest-Living U.S. President 

“He provides vision and assistance for Carter Center programs in global peace and health, participates in Habitat for Humanity builds one week a year, delivers Sunday school lessons in his hometown Plains, Ga., teaches at Emory University, and much more,” Congileo continued. 

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“He and Mrs. Carter take walks, and they have followed a healthy diet for a lifetime. Both President and Mrs. Carter are determined to use their influence for as long as they can to make the world a better place. Their tireless resolve and heart have helped to improve life for millions of the world’s poorest people.” 

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The longest-living U.S. president had only one term in office when a hostage crisis and a terrible economy hurt his re-election chances. Despite being a Democrat and overall presidential disappointment, both political parties agree that Carter is a great former president. So it’s lucky for the U.S. that Carter has filled this model role since the end of his term in 1981.  

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One might think that 96 is a good age to slow down. After all, the 39th president has spoken about feeling “absolutely and completely at ease with death.”  

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96 and Going Strong 

During his life, Carter has written books, won a Nobel Peace Prize, and helped build and fix over 4,300 homes around the world for Habitat for Humanity. And those are just a few mentions. He’s been an active humanitarian, philanthropist, teacher, and traveler with a passion for the outdoors. 

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He apparently also strongly believes that age is just a number since he still lives like he did when he was much younger. For one, he exercises daily and eats healthily, which he attributes to his wife, Rosalynn.  

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She is a strict dietitian and a very good cook,” said Carter. “She makes all our family meals.” [2] 

His activities include swimming, fishing, hunting, painting, and woodworking. Additionally, the couple goes for daily walks. His paintings and hand-made furniture pieces are sold to fund his nonprofit organization. The record is $750,000 for his painting of crab apple blossoms in 2016 during a charity auction. 

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The longest-living U.S. president also makes his own wine, a hobby he hopes would become a family tradition.  

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I generally get my children and grandchildren to come down to Plains, usually in August, and we go out into the local vineyards and pick around 50 gallons of grapes,” said Carter. “I’ve got an ancient wine press — probably about 250 years old — that someone gave to me, and I’ve made the rest of my equipment myself.” 

Writing, Volunteering, and Teaching

Despite having authored 32 books, Carter is still writing. His titles have covered topics from his career, his many hobbies, aging, his mother, his faith, women’s rights, peace in the Middle East, poetry, a children’s book with his daughter Amy, and a self-help book with Rosalynn. 

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Additionally, he and his wife still volunteer. Their nonprofit Carter Center that was founded in partnership with Emory University in 1982. It’s a human rights organization that promotes democracy, resolves conflicts, and prevents illness all around the globe. 

Oh, and he still teaches at a Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia. People need to arrive hours before the lecture begins to reserve their seats, and many line up the night before.

The Longest-Married Presidential Couple 

Despite being the longest-living U.S. president, Carter doesn’t fuss over his birthdays. As he explained in 2019, “Now when we have a quiet moment, like a birthday or something, we like to stay at home, just by ourselves, and enjoy a quiet day in our own house without any visitors and with minimum phone calls and emails coming in. 

The coronavirus pandemic has forced Carter and Rosalynn to stay at home most of the time. It seemed to have taken a pandemic to get the former president to slow down — or at least what the Carters would consider “slowing down.” [3] 

The couple has celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary last July. Not only is Carter the longest-living U.S. president, but he and Rosalynn also beat the record for the longest-married presidential couple. They’ve had four children, 12 grandkids, and 14 great-grandchildren. And their marriage is still going as strong as their incredible charity work. [4] 

Keep Reading: Kirk And Anne Douglas Made 70 Years Of Marriage Work By Solving Problems With ‘A Kiss’ And Work

Sources: 

  1. “Jimmy Carter Is Now the Longest-Living U.S. President.” New York Times. Matt Stevens. March 22, 2019. 
  2. “Jimmy Carter is 96. Here are 8 incredible things he still does that prove age is just a number.” Insider. Mariam Sharia. January 20, 2021. 
  3. “America’s Oldest Living Ex-President Is One Year Older as Jimmy Carter Turns 96.” People. Virginia Chamlee. October 1, 2020 
  4. “Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, longest-married presidential couple, celebrate 74th anniversary.” USA Today. Cyndey Henderson. July 7, 2020 
Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.
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